Comments on: City Council Expands North Main Task Force it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Tue, 29 May 2012 19:22:25 +0000 Re: basketball court in S. University Park.

Morris is right, according to deputy parks and recreation manager Jeff Straw. The basketball court will be replaced and somewhat enlarged.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Sun, 27 May 2012 11:45:18 +0000 Re (12) I don’t have the data, but I heard Sue McCormick explain one of the years that the fee increase was necessary partly because of decreased usage, thus revenues fell below expected, thus necessary to raise the rates.

By: TeacherPatti TeacherPatti Sun, 27 May 2012 01:51:48 +0000 On the North Main Corridor issue…I am one of the many who wanted to be on the advisory council (I live in the Near North area, by Wheeler Park). I am trusting that there will be opportunities to still be involved in the process for the rest of us. We just moved in and, crazy as this sounds, didn’t even realize how close the river is to us! We happened to walk across the street (of course not crossing the railroad tracks illegally, would never do that, never break the law, la la la la la, I can float when I want really honestly) and were like, “Day-am! That was like a two minute walk!” The atmosphere at Argo and the new Argo Cascades is amazing and I want more people to enjoy it, either with some sort of dining venture, or whatever.

By: Jim Rees Jim Rees Sun, 27 May 2012 01:36:30 +0000 I’d be curious to know whether the tiered water rate structure has reduced consumption.

By: Mary Morgan Mary Morgan Sat, 26 May 2012 23:38:29 +0000 Re. portion of millage spent on projects inside the city:

Page 7 of the financial report (see link in my previous comment) includes an itemized list of parks projects inside the city – a total of about $8.6 million since the millage was levied, including nearly $1 million in FY2011. By comparison, greenbelt projects over that same period (also itemized in the financial report, on pp5-6) total about $25 million.

Major parks purchases using millage proceeds include Narrow Gauge Way, Camp Hilltop, Dolph Nature Area (south addition), property adjacent to South Pond (purchased from Elizabeth Kauffman and Wes Vivian), and Eberwhite Nature Area (purchased from Zion Lutheran Church).

By: Alice Ralph Alice Ralph Sat, 26 May 2012 22:05:57 +0000 Thanks, Mary. The structure of the millage administration was in the fuzzy category of my brain. Also fuzzy is what portion of the millage has actually been spent on projects inside the city. Any? I do recall an impression that the 2:1 ratio policy has been unfulfilled, most projects having been completed outside the city.
Additionally, since both Carsten Hohnke and Sandi Smith are not running for re-election, the Greenbelt Advisory Committee and the North Main Task Force will likely have different council liaison respectively. It’s not in my control, of course, but it might be a service to both groups that new assignments be made immediately from among those council members who are mid-term. Issues of land use are rising to even more critical importance, both outside the city and inside it.

By: Mary Morgan Mary Morgan Sat, 26 May 2012 18:56:04 +0000 Re. What portion of the open space and parkland preservation millage does the greenbelt advisory commission oversee?

By way of background, the millage was passed by Ann Arbor voters in 2003 – it’s a 30-year 0.5 mill tax, and appears on the summer tax bill as the line item CITY PARK ACQ. The city’s policy has been to allocate one-third of the millage for parks land acquisition and two-thirds for the city’s greenbelt program. The greenbelt advisory commission handles the portion for land preservation outside of the city limits, while the city’s park advisory commission oversees the funds for parkland acquisition.

As of Jan. 31, 2012 – the most recent financial report available – the fund balance for the millage stood at $10.57 million. Of that, about $6 million is allocated for the greenbelt program. [.pdf file of midyear financial report for the millage, as of Jan. 31, 2012]

By: Alice Ralph Alice Ralph Sat, 26 May 2012 18:37:34 +0000 Two things on first reading-
–”The commission overseas a portion of the city’s open space and parkland preservation millage.” What “portion”?
–I believe the sidewalk millage has finally revealed an inherent difference between “maintenance” and “construction”. If property owners no longer have to maintain adjacent sidewalks by performing construction to repair them, then are we relieved of other “maintenance”? The language is still imprecise. In my opinion, maintenance has always meant shoveling snow and removing debris–and probably still means that much. We got so far off track with 5 years of inequitable and indirect taxation that we still have a bit farther to go to get it right.

By: David Diephuis David Diephuis Sat, 26 May 2012 18:02:03 +0000 Re: (6)

Dave, yes, choosing 7 units would have widened the spread between the 2002 costs and the 2012 costs and perhaps improved my point. I just didn’t want to pick a number at the top or bottom of the tier. But that does start to illustrate the problems in trying to compare water charges among Ann Arbor and other commumities, especially when the stormwater and sewer charges are added in as well.

I’d say it’s like apples and oranges, but it’s more like Ann Arbor is a watermelon and everybody else is either an apple or orange.
To my knowledge, few if any other communities in Michigan have a tiered system even remotely like Ann Arbor. Also, probably less than a dozen have a stormwater charge. I’m aware of only two, Jackson and Marquette. Ann Arbor is also unusual in it’s 10% discount for paying on time. Most other communities assess a penalty if payment is late.

So it bugs me a little when somebody says “Ann Arbor has low water rates (bills)”. True if a person is in the 1-7 units used tier. But also true would be the statement, “Ann Arbor has high water rates(bills)”, because once use gets into the middle of the 3rd tier, a consumer is probably paying at one of the highest rates in the State of Michigan.

Data showing what percentage of bills fall into which tier would help some in understanding and evaluating comparasions.

By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Sat, 26 May 2012 13:11:40 +0000 Re: [5]

David, I’m curious about the choice of 5 units to illustrate. Doesn’t your point get made more emphatically, if you choose 7 units?